(458) – THE FLESH 1

We read in the New Testament that God is Spirit and can only be worshipped in spirit (John 4:24). The text states clearly that true worship is worship in the spirit. Another enlightening text of John says: “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). In this passage we see through correct reasoning that God, the Father of Jesus Christ, does not beget children in the flesh, but only in the Spirit. This birth of the Spirit takes place by faith in Christ. The same Jesus spoke: “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into the Kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit’” (John 3:3-6). If the one which is born of the Spirit is a child of God, according to John 4:24, the one which is born of the flesh is a child of another.

Jesus declared that our flesh is not good for anything, and does not bring any benefit. If human flesh does not bring any advantageous return, it is garbage and cannot be recycled (John 6:63). Paul reveals that no good resides in the flesh (Rom. 7:18). And the same Paul affirms that the flesh and blood are corruption, and that corruption cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50). When Paul says that that which is corruptible should be clothed of incorruptibility, he is referring to our flesh (1 Cor. 15:53). Even when the saint is pure and without sin, his flesh is corrupted with time. The flesh is such filthy matter, that in the universal epistle of St. Jude, we read: “And some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh” (Jude 23). There are people who enjoy good health; nevertheless they emit unbearable smells from their flesh. The deodorant industries make fortunes to eliminate or disguise the smells of the human flesh. Many divorces take place because a spouse cannot stand the odors of their mate. The Bible reveals that what attracts so much opposite sexes are the desires of the filth of the flesh (2 Pet. 2:10). Considering the epidermis alone, there are innumerous maladies, which by the lack of proper daily hygiene, show up as fungus, scabies, dermatosis, skin cancer, and skin infections in general.

For a man to get into the presence of God, the Father, he has to be born again (John 3:3-6); has to be a new creature, that is to say, he has to be created in righteousness and holiness. Paul says: “That you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man, that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit” (Eph. 4:22). This flesh, which we are made of, has to go through regeneration, in other words, this that is corruptible must be clothed in incorruptibility, and this that is mortal must be clothed in immortality so as to get to God. This incorruptibility begins before the resurrection through the word of God. Peter says: “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever” (1 Pet. 1:23). The corruptible seed is the law of the carnal commandment.  We read in the letter to the Hebrews that Jesus is a priest that was not established according to the carnal commandment, but according to the virtue of the incorruptible life (Heb. 7:15-16); and this virtue of the incorruptible life is the gospel of incorruptibility. Paul says: “But in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious” (1 Pet. 3:4). Paul finishes, saying: “Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but suffer evil along with the glad tidings, according to the power of God; who has saved us, and has called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to [his] own purpose and grace, which [was] given to us in Christ Jesus before [the] ages of time, but has been made manifest now by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has annulled death, and brought to light life and incorruptibility by the glad tidings”  Darby Version (2 Tim. 1:8-10). And Peter declares that at the end of this world, recounted in detail in 2 Pet. 3:7-14, in verse fourteen: “Wherefore, beloved, as ye wait for these things, be diligent to be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless”.

Now, we are surprised with the declaration of Jehovah, made by the mouth of Jeremiah: “Behold, I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27). Is Jehovah the god of the corruptible flesh? (1 Sam. 1:3; 1 Chr. 16:29; Ps. 99:9). Isaiah says that all flesh worships Jehovah (Is. 66:23). Jehovah lives together with the flesh in its state of corruption (Gen. 18:1-8). And Jehovah dwells with the corruptible flesh (Ezra 2:68; Ps. 135:21).

And the people with whom Jehovah dwelt, he himself compared to Sodom and Gomorrah (Is. 1:8-11).

It is a matter of thinking a little about it …

By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira

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